The day Pittsburgh Pirates fans have long yearned is finally upon us, right-handed pitching prospect Tyler Glasnow will make his Major League debut on Thursday.
News broke on Wednesday morning that sent Pirate fans far and wide into a frenzy. Multiple outlets reported that prized pitching prospect Tyler Glasnow will make his Major League debut against the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday afternoon. Glasnow will become the eighth different player to make their Major League debut for the Pirates in 2016, and the fourth different starting pitcher to do so.
Tyler Glasnow has dominated Triple-A this season and this should come as no surprise. Entering the season Tyler Glasnow was ranked as the 14th best prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America, 10th by MLB.com, and 11th by Baseball Prospectus. The six-foot-eight 225 pound Glasnow was a fifth round pick by the Pirates in the 2001 Major League Baseball Draft, and has as high a ceiling as any pitcher in Minor League Baseball.
In 17 starts for Triple-A this season Tyler Glasnow has pitched 96 innings, and has a sparkling 1.78 ERA and 2.94 FIP. Even though Glasnow has struggled with control, averaging 4.88 BB/9, which is why he was not promoted to the Major Leagues sooner the rest of his stats are outstanding. On the season at Triple-A Tyler Glasnow was averaging 10.59 K/9, 0.38 HR/9, he had a 1.14 WHIP, and was holding opposing batters to just a .174 batting average against.
Glasnow’s most dangerous weapon is his plus fastball that attacks hitters on a major downhill angle. Tyler Glasnow will regularly sit in the 95-to-98 mile per hour range during his starts, and can hit 100 miles per hour on the radar gun as well. However, a dominant fastball is far from Glasnow’s only weapon.
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Tyler Glasnow also throws a strong curveball that has a lot of bite to it. Throughout his Minor League career his curveball has been a swing and miss pitch. Adding to it’s effectiveness is Glasnow’s immense size and downward plane, as these make his curveballs difficult for opposing batters to pick up and read.
Along with control, the other big knock on Tyler Glasnow in the Minor Leagues was a lack of a third pitch. Glasnow, and the Pirates, have worked extensively to help him develop a change up. Glasnow’s change up is a pitch that has consistently improved throughout his Minor League career, and even though it still needs some polishing, it should be good enough to help him at the Major League level.
Now that Tyler Glasnow is in the mix, the Pirate starting rotation goes from an utter mess to extremely intriguing and potentially a strength. Gerrit Cole made a rehab start, which he dominated, for Triple-A last night and should return, at the latest, next weekend in Washington D.C. Jameson Taillon should return in that same series, or shortly thereafter, Chad Kuhl has shown some good things in his two starts and now Tyler Glasnow is joining the fold as well. Also, all of this goes without mentioning Francisco Liriano who has the pure stuff to turn back into a dominating pitcher at any point in time.
Since Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review has already reproted that this weekend’s pitching rotation will be Chad Kuhl on Friday night, Francisco Liriano on Saturday night, and Jon Niese on Sunday, I expect Steven Brault to be optioned to Triple-A to make room for Tyler Glasnow. Also, it was widely reported today that the Pirates are actively shopping Jon Niese. I would expect Niese to be traded, or placed on the disabled list with a knee issue he has been battling, to make a roster spot for Gerrit Cole when he returns.
Tomorrow is, finally, Tyler Glasnow day. Yay! Unfortunately, it comes in a weekday afternoon game when I will be at work. Boo! Regardless, and I am sure I speak for all Pirate fans when I say this, I am beyond excited for Tyler Glasnow to finally join the Pittsburgh Pirate rotation tomorrow.